Many of us have framed the coronavirus lockdown as an ideal time to tackle long-delayed self-improvement projects, like learning a new language or a musical instrument. Also, a lot of us are spending our time playing video games. But it will be more profitable to use this period of isolation to learn that language you have always dreamt of.
Thinking about how to learn a language on your own and from home during these long Quarantine days? Looks a bit challenging, right? Don’t worry, because I will be giving you some tips on how to successfully learn a new language.
Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about. – Benjamin Lee Whorf
Online learning resources are emerging as lifesavers for students, teachers and anyone interested in learning another language when one-third of humanity is on lockdown. At this point in time, we have no idea when we will be able to travel abroad again. But we don’t need to be idle. Let’s make this time beneficial by learning another language. Then, once we can roam the globe again, we can gleefully jump right into conversations.
“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” Flora Lewis
Even though some languages can be easier to learn for a larger number of people, there is no universal list of the easiest or hardest languages. Why is that so? Because the challenge of learning a new language largely depends on your mother tongue and your previous experience with that language. The ones that will be the easiest for you to tackle are the ones that are in the same language family as your mother tongue. So for example, for native English speakers, it is easier to learn Dutch, while for Spaniards, Italian would likely come more naturally.
Being bilingual has a few scientifically studied benefits. A study conducted in Luxembourg and published by the American Academy of Neurology, found those who speak more than two languages may be less likely to have memory problems like Alzheimer’s and dementia. It may seem difficult but you can do it, trust me and give it a try.
“With languages, you are at home anywhere.” – Edward De Waal.
NOW WHY SHOULD YOU LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE?
You need to understand that language is a powerful tool that unites peoples and cultures across the world. The more languages you know, the more people you can connect with and learn about. It also does the following.
1. Boosts Brain Power
Millions of people engage in online brain training to keep mentally sharp, but learning a second language is an infinitely more rewarding use of your time. Learning another language trains your brain to deal with new levels of complexity and absorb new patterns. It can also help you focus and filter out information that is irrelevant. Switching between languages makes your brain more flexible and it can prioritize more easily. Speaking these languages profoundly affects the brain and changes how the nervous system responds to sound, lab tests revealed.
2. Deepens Your Connection to Other Cultures
Learning a foreign language leads to an appreciation of cultural diversity. This is because knowing others’ language enables you to study their ways and norms. For instance, if you’ve studied French as your second language chances are that you’re much more aware than you otherwise would be of how communication works in France, such as how various signs or gestures there might differ from those in other countries. Thus if you are communicating with someone from France, it will be easier to communicate effectively and in a respectful manner. Nelson Mandela put it best: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart.”
While learning a different language can make you more aware of cultural differences, you will also understand why those differences exist and the importance of respecting cultures different from your own. Language learning can go a long way to inspire solidarity and tolerance,
3. Improves your First Language
It is of great advantage to you if you learn another language. This is because, learning a second language can actually improve your native tongue. When you learn a second language, though you learn the rules, sometimes, these rules correlate with rules in your native language, thereby helping you better understand how your own language works. It also makes you a better listener as you are used to having to interpret meaning from every word you learn.
New language makes you more conscious of the nuts and bolts of your own language. Terms such as vocabulary, grammar, conjugation, comprehension, idioms and sentence structure become everyday phrases, whereas your own language is probably absorbed more intuitively.
4. IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY
Using your brain to learn a new language can improve your memory. It acts as a workout for your brain. This is because, when you learn a new language, what really happens is that you are memorizing the vocabulary and grammar rules of that language. And this plays a great part in strengthening your brain muscles and makes your brain retain information longer. Thus, you experience improved memory by learning a second language. Which means that multiple language speakers are better at remembering lists or sequences.
Learning a language gives your memory a good work out. This means that multilingual people have brains that are more exercised and quick to recall names, directions, facts, and figures.
5. Enhances Decision-Making
Studies show that decisions made in your second language are more reason-driven than those made in your native language. According to a study from the University of Chicago, bilinguals tend to make more rational decisions. They are more confident with their choices after thinking it over in the second language and seeing whether their initial conclusions still stand up.
Contrary to what others say, when we deliberate in a second or third language, we actually distance ourselves from the emotional responses and biases deeply associated with our mother tongue. The result? Systematic and clear-headed decisions based on just the facts.
WHERE TO START
Learning a new language can seem difficult and intimidating. A lot of people aren’t sure where to start. There is no right to learn. But here are few tips that might help you along the way:
Set Short-Term Goals
Decide on a simple, attainable goal to start with so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Learn to break down your ultimate goal into smaller bits, and set smaller goals for each week or month. You can decide to pick up 50 words of a language and start using them on people at home or even the friends you communicate with through the phone. since, everyone is self-isolating. And then slowly start picking up grammar.
Watch and Listen To the Media in That Language
Foreign-language TV series, shows and films are like handy supplements that can help you bridge the gap between learner materials and how people actually talk. That is why, If you have the anxiety to learn a new language and effectively, go for the media of that country. You need to understand that if you only listen to those slow and stilted dialogues in textbooks, you’ll probably end up speaking in a slow and stilted way. Alternatively, if you listen to lots of realistic conversations in TV series and films, over time, you’ll start speaking in a more natural way.
It’s not all about listening or watching the media that speaks that language it also has to do with, listening and watching a specific program. Because while watching a program on a specific theme you will be able to learn the language with more guidance and focus. Rather than watching adverts and music without lyrics that will have no impact on your learning. Thus chose your TV programs wisely.
Make Use of a Dictionary
You can use a dictionary to look up the meaning of any words that you don’t understand. There are a lot of dictionary apps with different languages that you download and learn from. All you need is to be able to consult it quickly whenever you need a word.
This is one of the most popular ways to learn a new language. There are a ton of different websites and apps to choose from, depending on your goals and the type of language you’re learning. In response to stay at home orders in several parts of the world, several language-learning resource providers are unlocking their paid features for the near future. For example, if you are learning Thai online, you might explore the Ling App. Other popular programs include Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, LingoDeer and Fluent Forever. All of these can be accessed from home!
Learning another language does not only make you appear smarter, but it also strengthens your brain which impacts your decision making and helps with multitasking and memory.
Although you probably won’t emerge out of this quarantine fluent, you will have laid a strong foundation. Hopefully, you will pick up essential vocabulary and phrases that will make traveling more fun. While focusing on learning another language don’t forget that your health matters a lot. Thus why not click on this link to better understand how to stay healthy while self-isolating. Love this article? Then leave us a message in the comment box below.